Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thank You & Welcome New WinPatrol PLUS members

Last week I did something I swore I’d never do again. As an experiment we made a single computer license of WinPatrol PLUS available for 99 cents. This is commonly the price you pay for apps on your phone so I wanted to find out how expectations of price have changed.

The last time I tried this experiment the number of upgrades was more than expected and our ability to handle the rush of new members wasn’t adequate. This time was a little better although I am still spending the week making sure everyone received their code and answers to questions.

The Emails I received have been some of the most positive I’ve read. We apparently have had a lot of loyal users of WinPatrol FREE Edition who welcomed this great opportunity. I also heard from a number of new fans who had never heard of WinPatrol and wondered why they missed such a useful tool. There were a few over excited fans who didn’t understand that each 99 cent purchase generated a single code which I tried to make clear in the original offer description. Everyone agreed this was a great deal and many took advantage of the discounted Family Pack license.

One of the good and bad changes in this experiment was the use of alternate download sites.  To reduce the stress on I pointed our downloads to trustworthy download sites which had our current setup program. While it helped reduce the problems of our last experiment, these download sites can be confusing and some might say deceptive. If you’re not careful it’s easy to download one of their paid advertisers instead of the program you want. The sites I chose were some of the easier to use.

Special thanks to everyone who spread the news of the sale. Our biggest rush resulted from an article by CNet’s “The Cheapskate” Rick Broida who wrote, “it gives Windows tinkerers a robust set of tinker-tools, yet has a footprint of less than 1MB. Also, creator Bill Pytlovany comes across as just a regular guy who wrote a program, not some faceless developer.”  Thanks Rick. I should explain that our “goofy, Windows 95-era interface” is designed not only for performance but mostly to support accessibility devices like screen readers.  I am guilty and not proud of the “Internet 1.0-era Web site” because we don’t have the revenue of even rogue software developers who can afford to hire real web designers.

Thank you to all our 7000+ new WinPatrol PLUS users. It seems 99 cents is a price people accept. I hope WinPatrol exceeds your expectations and Scotty takes good care of you.  If you’re happy and you know it, feel free to tell your friends.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

WinPatrol PLUS Super 99 Cent Experiment II

In January 2010 I tried an experiment and swore I’d never do it again. Since that time the price of software has continued to fluctuate and I’ve been convinced to try the The Great 99 Cent Software Experiment of 2010 again. Since Tuesday is tax day in the USA, I thought this would be an ideal time to give everyone a break. At the same time we’ll see if buying habits have been affected by smart phone software prices.

As in the past, this will be a limited time only “experiment” starting at Noon EST on Monday, April 16th 2012 and will end Noon EST on Wednesday April 18th, 2012.

Update: At the request of friends who didn’t get a chance to notify their readers in time, and system slow downs on Tuesday, our sale has been extended until Thursday, April 19th, 2012 at Noon EST.

Like our current $29.95 plan, the 99¢ license will be good for life and all future versions of WinPatrol. Like sales in the Apple App Store or Droid Market however, this license is only valid for a single computer. Each 99 cent purchase is a license for one computer. Sound fair enough?  Non-commercial users may make multiple purchases but at the completion of your order you will receive a single PLUS code for all “your” personal computers.

Not for commercial use or resale.

If you’ve been planning on someday upgrading to WinPatrol PLUS, this is the time to do it. Even illegal keygen sites can’t compete with this deal. Just go to and you may be a part of history again

Contact for questions or confirmation this is real. Also let us know if you do not receive your PLUS code due to higher than expected site traffic.  Depending on Email volume my response may not be as quick as usual but I’ll get to you.

To all our fans who paid $29.95 I hope you’ll understand that this is just a crazy experiment and does not diminish the value of WinPatrol PLUS or how much I appreciate all your past support.  If you’ve forgotten why WinPatrol fans are so loyal see "Top Ten Reasons to Try WinPatrol Again".

New F.A.Q.
Can I use my 99¢ WinPatrol PLUS on multiple computers.
This experiment is meant to compare a software purchase to those purchases from the Apple App Store or Droid Market. Unlike our $29.95 license, this purchase is good for one computer at a time. The cost of the Family Pack license has also been reduced to $9.99 and will allow you to create a single family PLUS code.

I heard a new WinPatrol version is coming soon. Will I have to pay again for this version?
No way. The PLUS activation you purchase for 99¢ will work with all future versions.

Can I purchase 100 copies.
Yes, but only for your own use.  You must be a home user and you’ll still receive a single PLUS code for all your computers.

Do I need to download anything in advance?
If you already have the free version of WinPatrol no additional download is required. If you don’t have WinPatrol you can download and become familiar with WinPatrol at I’ve included some alternate download sites to prevent traffic jams on Using your PLUS code will activate the premium features hidden in the free version.

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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Time to Protect Your Macintosh Computer

Over the years I’ve attended a number of conferences and panels on what originally was called Spyware and Adware. I think we’ve finally settled on using the term Malware for any kind of spyware, virus, Trojan horse or any kind of unwanted computer invasion. I fondly remember my first conference in Washington DC which included panel discussions like “What is Spyware”.

Manessa Mithal, Acting Director, International Division of the FTC, Chris Boyd,(Paperghost)Facetime,,  Katherine Tassi, Washington State AG, Luis Villa, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University,
Anti-Spyware Coalition 2006 - Tracking Spyware Across Borders

I will also never forget, Jeff Fox, who at the time introduced himself as an editor from Consumer Reports magazine. Jeff insisted the Macintosh was “less hospitable” to spyware.  It had nothing to do with the Mac’s 1.5% market share, Jeff implied, Apple created their OS with less vulnerabilities. Ed Skoudis from SANS Institute, countered noting that, “OS10 has had a number of significant security flaws” and that they’re not as widely publicized because they don’t impact as many people.

Since that time Apple has widely increased their visibility. Some estimates put the Macintosh market share above 14%. While many malware authors are targeting the iPhone and iPad, it appears someone has created a Trojan Horse that has spread to over 600,000 Macs including hundreds of machines that report their address coming from Apple headquarters in Cupertino.

If you own a Macintosh computer there’s a chance you’ve been infected even if you run some kind of Anti-Virus software. If you’ve been on a website that offered to update your Flash player, there’s even a better chance you’re one of the 600,000+.

Apple has provided an update with instructions click here. The so called OSX/Flashback Trojan uses a flaw in Oracle’s JAVA. Both Apple and PC users that depend on JAVA should be sure they have the newest version available. PC users who use JAVA click here. Macintosh users should update their software at as soon as possible.

Special thanks to our friends at F-Secure labs for their research and Kaspersky Labs who reverse engineered Flashback and were able to verify the number of infected machines by setting up their own bot honey pot based on the Flashback code.  Read more here.

It used to be once a month someone would ask if there is a version of WinPatrol for the Mac.  Lately it’s been 2-3 times a week. I was able to secure the domains and but MacPatrol was taken by the time I tried to register it.

Read More Info including technical details below:

Mac Flashback Trojan Affecting Thousands: Apple Issues Fix
Huffington Post

Mac Flashback Trojan: Find Out If You’re One of the 600,000 Infected

Has Flashback malware made you consider installing antivirus on your Mac? ZDNet - Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

New Mac malware epidemic exploits weaknesses in Apple ecosystem
ZDNet – Ed Bott   (Special thanks for correcting my error)

Doctor Web exposes 550 000 strong Mac botnet
Doctor Web—the Russian anti-virus vendor

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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Experimental Sale to aid Task Catcher Development

For one day only, April 2nd 2012, I’ll be experimenting again with a price anyone can afford for great software that runs on their Windows based computers. Unlike my WinPatrol program, Task Catcher isn’t for everyone but those who use it, love and depend on it on a daily basis. Instead of $12.95, act quickly and you’ll own Task Catcher for only $1.99.

Task Catcher allows you to efficiently monitor programs running on your computer without slowing you down or hogging all your memory. Like WinPatrol it’s so tiny you'll never know Task Catcher is even running. Task Catcher will block unwanted programs from running but even better it will restart your favorite programs if they are disabled or crash. As always, my goal is to put YOU back in control of your computer.

Task Catcher 1.4 will keep these programs running.

#1 Feature: Verify your favorite critical programs are running
This has always been the primary use of Task Catcher. Our long time users say they have programs that are critical to have running at all times.
Task Catcher will keep an eye on important tasks you always want running on your system. Our feline friend won't allow Spyware to shutdown your protection.

If you want to know what Task Catcher does, this is it. If your server has been known to crash or you worry malware will shut down your security software, the little known Task Catcher provides a solution.

Let Task Catcher know which programs you depend on and it will make sure that your program is always running. If Task Catcher doesn't see your "Watched" program, it will automatically restart it for you. Some other features may not work on 64 bit systems.

Download Task Catcher & Activate for $1.99


For under 2 bucks you can't go wrong. Your investment will pay off today and give you a free update to Task Catcher 2.0. While I had hoped to release Task Catcher 2.0 as early as this week proceeds of this sale will go towards the development of a great new feature so if you're already a fan be sure and tell your friends.

track1Task Catcher 2.0 tracks how often programs of choice are used.

Current WinPatrol PLUS members can access our online database using Task Catcher the same way they can with WinPatrol.

Update: This sale is over but keep reading Bits for Bill for new of future special offers.

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